Graphic by Nate Barton
As a senior graduating in the spring, the approaching, unknown future is a little overwhelming at times. There is so much to do and so much uncertainty lying ahead. I imagine I’m not the only college student who feels this way, and it is important that students know how to deal with these worries.
“Take a deep breath and put yourself to use” is the advice given in Judith Sills and Carlin Flora’s article, “Working through fear,” published July 1, 2009 by Psychology Today. This article discusses working in an environment where the future is uncertain and possibly dismal.
I think many college students view the future in a dim light, whether or not it is the reality. I certainly do at times and I don’t think the solution is to simply not worry. Replacing the time spent worrying with productive work is a positive way to combat the uncertainty.
One way I combat this fear is organization. I’m an organized person. I have a grad school application spreadsheet. I make myself a to-do list every single day. To me, the approaching unknown is like a giant, disgusting fruit cake that some unknown evilness is forcing me to eat. How do I deal with that impossible task? I break it up.
“Breaking each task down into its individual actions allows you to convert your work into things you can either physically do, or forget about,” according to Tom Stafford’s article “The psychology of the to-do list,” published January 29, 2013 by BBC.
This is generally good advice for many of the problems people face. Every time another portion of this fruit cake is served up, and I start to feel worried about the future, I write everything I need to do on my task list. That way, I can forget about it until the moment when I actually have to do it.
I comfort myself in the fact that whatever it is, within a few hours or days, I will be much further than I was today or yesterday. Don’t be burdened by the thousand of little thinks that pop up, or the giant fruit cake in the distance. Eat your daily portion. Schedule the details. Trudge on.
Follow Sarah Kiker on Twitter: @SarahKiker3